Posted on: December 14, 2010 6:34 pm
Edited on: December 15, 2010 2:59 pm
The Nets have put into motion a plan to acquire several assets that the Nuggets have asked for in a potential blockbuster trade for Carmelo Anthony, two people familiar with the situation told CBSSports.com.
The first step, agreed to in principle Tuesday, is a three-team trade in which the Nets get a first-round pick from the Rockets and another one from the Lakers. New Jersey sends Terrence Williams to the Rockets and Joe Smith to the Lakers, who send Sasha Vujacic to the Nets, the people familiar with the framework of the deal said.
The deal, first reported by Yahoo! Sports, can't be finalized until Wednesday because Smith signed as a free agent this past summer and isn't trade-eligible until then.
The Nets now have their own first-round picks in the next two drafts -- one of which could be traded to Denver -- plus Golden State's 2012 first-rounder, Houston's lottery-protected 2012 first-round pick and a 2011 first-rounder from the Lakers. The plan is to include all of the above in a blockbuster proposal to Denver for Anthony, one of the people familiar with the deal said.
UPDATE: The trade was completed Wednesday, with the Lakers also receiving two second-round picks from the Nets (Golden State's in 2011 and Chicago's in 2012) along with the draft rights to Sergei Lishchuk from Houston. To clear a roster spot for Williams, the Rockets traded Jermaine Taylor and cash to Sacramento for a future second-round pick.
The Nets' new assets, combined with 2010 No. 3 pick Derrick Favors and power forward Troy Murphy, would put New Jersey in the driver's seat in the Melo sweepstakes. And the Nets, according to a high-ranking person familiar with their plan, are working other angles to accomplish the following: get another young player Denver covets and/or add an established player whose presence on the Nets would make the prospect of signing an extension with New Jersey more attractive to the three-time All-Star.
But satisfying Denver has always been only half the battle. Agreeing to an extend-and-trade to New Jersey has not been Anthony's top priority, but the Nets have been the most aggressive team in pursuit of the prolific scorer, whose talent and marketability would represent the biggest coup yet by Russian billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov. The Nets are moving to Brooklyn -- Anthony's birthplace -- in time for the 2012-13 season.
According to a person with direct knowledge of Anthony's strategy, he recently became entrenched in his desire to agree to an extend-and-trade only if the deal sent him to the Knicks. The person who provided this information could not have been more unequivocal -- and could not have been closer to Anthony's inner circle.
On Tuesday, a rival executive familiar with the Nets' months-long efforts to land Melo corroborated Anthony's Knicks-only stance, telling CBSSports.com of New Jersey, "They got word that Melo will not sign there. They can't get it done."
Contrary to another report, Anthony himself at no point informed the Nuggets or Nets of his stance. So the Nets, who according to sources have received repeated assurances from Anthony's camp that he would extend his contract in a trade to New Jersey, continued with their aggressive strategy to sweeten the assets they could offer the Nuggets. Even as word of Anthony's Knicks-only strategy leaked out Sunday after he made his only scheduled appearance of the season at Madison Square Garden, the Nets were working on the framework of the Houston-L.A. deal that came together Tuesday. A person familiar with the situation said acquiring additional first-round picks was something the Nuggets specifically asked for in an Anthony trade.
Like the crosstown rival Knicks, the Nets struck out in their efforts to lure free agents LeBron James and Dwyane Wade this past summer. But if this haul of first-rounders puts the Nets over the top in their pursuit of Anthony, it would be another dagger for the Knicks. It is believed that Houston's 2012 lottery-protected pick going to New Jersey is the pick the Rockets acquired from New York in the Tracy McGrady deal last February -- the trade that cleared the final bit of cap space the Knicks needed to have any chance of getting LeBron.
The deal also works for the Lakers, who were willing to give up a first-round pick -- likely, of course, to be near the bottom -- in exchange for dumping Vujacic's $5.5 million for Smith's $1.4 million -- of which the Lakers only have to pay a prorated portion of $854,389 because it is a one-year deal for a player with more than two years experience.
What happens next could be portrayed in a commercial with Melo sitting in a director's chair and asking the question LeBron asked: "What should I do?" However this works out for New Jersey, the team's brain trust of GM Billy King and assistant GM Bobby Marks deserve kudos for ignoring the chatter and ever-changing whims of a potential NBA free agent and sticking with their plan. From the outside looking in, it always appeared to rival execs and other observers that the Nets' toughest sales job would be with Anthony. From the beginning, the Nets' brass always believed that would be the easy part -- and that the biggest challenge in landing Melo would be putting together a deal that satisfied all of Denver's desires.
On Tuesday, the Newark-Brooklyn Nets took a giant step closer to finding out.
Posted on: July 16, 2010 9:56 pm
Edited on: July 16, 2010 10:38 pm
LAS VEGAS -- If members of LeBron James' entourage get hired by the Miami Heat, the NBA wouldn't rule out opening an investigation into possible salary-cap circumvention, a high-ranking official familiar with the league's thinking told CBSSports.com Friday.
While league officials are not actively pursuing any tampering charges related to James' decision to sign with the Heat -- and, in fact, have received no complaints that would trigger such a probe -- it wouldn't be surprising to see an investigation related to any jobs given to people in James' circle of advisers. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the league would not need a team to lodge a complaint to launch such an investigation.
In a detailed account of the Heat's nearly two-year effort to recruit James to join Dwyane Wade in Miami, Yahoo! Sports on Friday quoted an NBA front office executive who said he wants the league to examine whether Heat president Pat Riley promised jobs or other benefits to members of James' camp as part of his recruiting pitch.
“You can’t promise jobs or preferential services outside of a contract or a job for a friend," the team executive told Yahoo! Sports. "If that’s part of the deal, it’s a violation.”
The penalties for such side deals designed to circumvent salary-cap rules are severe. In 2000, the Minnesota Timberwolves were fined $3.5 million and lost three draft picks after disclosure of a written deal with free agent Joe Smith. The arrangement called for Smith to play under three consecutive one-year contracts, after which it was agreed that the team would use his Bird rights to sign him to a multi-year deal to make up for the money he'd left on the table. Owner Glen Taylor and then-GM Kevin McHale agreed to leaves of absence in order to get back two other draft picks that had been taken away as part of the penalty. In addition to forfeiture of draft picks, league rules call for a maximum fine of $5 million, voiding the contract of the player in question, and up to a one-year suspension of any team officials involved.
One impediment to prosecuting such a case against the Heat -- if and when members of James' camp are hired for any jobs -- is that it will be difficult to prove it is any different from what the Cavs did to appease James when he played for them. One member of James' circle of friends, Randy Mims, was employed by the Cavs as a "player liaison." The hiring was never investigated, and the Cavs were never subject to any punishment for the arrangement.
While the Hawks have ruled out paying luxury tax to sign Shaquille O'Neal -- or any other free agent, for that matter -- the organization hasn't shut the door completely on bringing Shaq to Atlanta, a person familiar with the team's thinking told CBSSports.com. If O'Neal were to lower his asking price from the mid-level exception -- starting at about $5.8 million -- to the bi-annual exception of about $1.9 million, the Hawks would be interested in exploring such a signing. Atlanta would be able to pay O'Neal the bi-annual exception -- or a portion of its mid-level -- and avoid paying luxury tax. But the current ownership group has never paid luxury tax and doesn't plan to begin paying it now. Also, the Hawks haven't discussed -- nor are they interested in -- a sign-and-trade arrangement with the Cavs that would cost them a piece of their young core, sources say.
The Raptors continue to explore several potential trade scenarios involving point guard Jose Calderon, who was going to be dealt to the Bobcats earlier this week before Charlotte owner Michael Jordan backed out of the deal. Interest from potential trade partners has been lukewarm, according to a person with knowledge of the talks. ... Wizards assistant GM Tommy Sheppard and Kings assistant GM Jason Levien will interview for the Hornets' GM opening, two people with knowledge of the situation confirmed to CBSSports.com. Hornets president Hugh Weber already has spoken with Spurs executive Dell Demps and plans to speak with former Trail Blazers execs Kevin Pritchard and Tom Penn, as well as former Suns exec David Griffin, sources said. Weber, according to one of the sources, is hoping to have the process wrapped up quickly, perhaps as soon as Sunday. ... Demps has spoken with Suns officials about that team's opening for a personnel man to work under incoming team president Lon Babby, a former player agent.
Posted on: March 4, 2009 9:31 am
Veteran Joe Smith has agreed to return to Cleveland for the rest of the season, hoping to help LeBron James win a title. Smith's inside presence was sorely needed once Ben Wallace went down with a broken leg last week -- especially considering Boston's addition of Mikki Moore and Orlando's deadline trade for Rafer Alston.
If anyone cares to rank these contenders' trade deadline/waiver deadline moves, have at it. You'd have to start with Alston and go from there, but it's an interesting debate as to which team after Orlando has helped itself the most.
Another interesting debate: Breakin Down the Game makes a reasonable argument for why a rookie should win the most improved player award this season. Look at Russell Westbrook's month-to-month numbers:
* November: 12.2 points; 4.1 assists; 3.3 rebounds
* December: 15.5 points; 5.1 assists; 5.1 rebounds
* January: 16.5 points; 5.5 assists; 4.9 rebounds
* February: 20.4 points 5.9 assists; 6.1 rebounds
Not bad. I'll buy it, D-Miz.
Posted on: February 27, 2009 9:49 am
1) Where do the Cavs turn for inside help down the stretch?
As for question No. 1, you had better believe that Oklahoma City GM Sam Presti will be hearing from Cavs GM Danny Ferry -- if he hasn't already. Presti has a former piece of Cavs property, power forward Joe Smith, who many predicted would be traded or released by now. So far, Presti has held onto Smith and his $4.8 million expiring contract. Smith would have to be bought out and waived by Sunday in order to be eligible for the Cavs' playoff roster.
There's no trading for Smith now, but there are such things as favors in the NBA. If Presti releases Smith, he might find a little IOU from Ferry in his mailbox. Stay tuned.
Another option is Drew Gooden, another former Cav who is expected to be bought out by Sacramento. Gooden just returned from a month-long absence due to a groin injury, but was effective Wednesday night with 12 points and 13 rebounds in 26 minutes against Charlotte.
As for question No. 2, we'll have to wait and see how the Cavs fill the void. But as of now, the answer is a resounding yes.
Posted on: February 18, 2009 11:32 pm
Edited on: February 19, 2009 12:28 am
In a stunning development announced shortly after 11 p.m. EST, the trade sending Chandler to the Thunder for the expiring contracts of Joe Smith and Chris Wilcox, plus the rights to 2008 second-round pick DeVon Hardin, was voided. It wasn't clear what issue Thunder doctors discovered, but it doesn't matter. The deal's off.
"We welcome Tyson back with open arms," Hornets general manager Jeff Bower said in a statement released by the team. "We went into this trade to garner more frontcourt depth to add to our team as we continue our push towards the playoffs. We expect Tyson and the rest of our big guys to step up to the challenge."
Thunder GM Sam Presti said in a statement: "During the course of the physical examination and outside consultations, some questions arose that gave us cause for concern. We felt that this course of action was the best for our organization.”
UPDATE: Yahoo! Sports reports that the injury in question is turf toe, which Chandler had surgically repaired a couple of years ago. Regardless, the next question is this: Where do the Hornets turn now to get the luxury tax and payroll savings they thought they'd achieved with the Chandler deal?
The cash-strapped Hornets thought they were going to save almost $12 million next season and close to $25 over the next two years by trading Chandler. The only way they can clear that much money without tearing up their team is to part with Peja Stojakovic, who is due almost $30 million over the next two years. The trade deadline just became a lot more interesting.
Posted on: February 17, 2009 8:08 pm
When a team executive told me recently that the New Orleans Hornets would be actively trying to dump salary by Thursday's trade deadline because, "They're broke," he wasn't kidding.
The salary dump has begun, and there will be more where that came from across the league.
Tyson Chandler's numbers were down this season, but not enough to justify trading him to Oklahoma City for Chris Wilcox, that annual trade-deadline, expiring-contract favorite, Joe Smith, and the rights to the Thunder's 2008 second-round pick, DeVon Hardin.
The move saves the Hornets about $11.5 million next season, depending on what they do with Hardin, and $12.75 million in 2009-10. Both Wilcox and Smith are on contracts that expire after this season.
The Thunder are very likely not done. The rights to Hardin and the aforementioned expiring contracts were only the tip of the iceberg in terms of tradeable assets GM Sam Presti has at his disposal -- not the least of which are five first-round picks in the next two drafts.